Ask the experts: South Pacific islands

Our panel give advice on island hopping around the South Pacific

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Published 30 Jan 2015, 11:00 GMT, Updated 1 Jul 2021, 16:06 BST

QI'm planning a trip to New Zealand. I'd love to stop off en route for a week of South Pacific island hopping. Where should I go?

Katie Warburton, destination manager, Austravel: Fiji is a great destination to add on to any New Zealand itinerary, with daily flights taking just three hours. Head out to the Mamanuca Islands, for boutique resorts on paradise beaches. All the islands offer great facilities, from watersports, dive schools and kids' clubs, to nature walks and performances showcasing traditional song and dance. For a touch of luxury, book a spa treatment, relax in an overwater bure, or sample top cuisine while watching the sunset. Austravel offers trips to Auckland and Fiji's islands from £3,549 per person, with flights from Heathrow with Qantas.

Sarah Barrell, associate editor, National Geographic Traveller (UK): Your stop-off choices will depend on the routes offered by your airline. As Fiji is the most popular destination, prices are favourable. But how about the Cook Islands, around 994 miles north east of New Zealand, served by Air New Zealand Air Tahiti and Virgin Australia? The hub island of Rarotonga lives up to the South Pacific promise of white sands, nodding palms and ukulele tunes. And just north of here, the mini archipelago of Aitutaki is ringed by a reef and home to a lagoon whose beauty is said to have sparked the mutiny on the HMS Bounty. Air New Zealand flies from Heathrow via LA to Rarotonga, from £1,288 return, with free stopover; Air Rarotonga has returns to Aitutaki from £170.

Tiffany Cope, marketing assistant, Trailfinders: With one week, I suggest you visit just one area of the South Pacific. Fiji is the perfect place for island hopping — with over 300 islands scattered offshore. The Yasawa Island route is among the most popular, with 20 islands in the northwest archipelago. The Mamanuca Islands, renowned for their surf are another great choice. Trailfinders offers a four-day Blue Lagoon cruise from £1,291 per person, visiting the lesser-known but pristine Yasawa and northern Mamanuca Islands. Sightseeing includes a visit to the Castaway film location, snorkelling with reef sharks, a fascinating marine biologist lecture, the chance to visit a local school and a Fijian cooking lesson. Trailfinders also offer five- and eight-day island-hopping tours in this region. For the whole package, Trailfinders offers return flights from London to Auckland, onwards to Fiji, with two free nights (at the First Landing Beach Resort & Villas, Nadi) and a five-day island hopping cruise from £2,999 per person.

Get in touch: If you're in need of travel advice, email our team –

Published in the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)


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